A few New Moths – 2014

I’ve really being enjoying learning a new group this year, it’s been vastly rewarding. A good spread of lit areas at work and the purchasing of my first trap, has meant that even on ‘break’ nights at home, there is still a chance to record species. Below are a couple of new bits I have logged in the past week or so.

Early Thorn, Holt, Norfolk.

Early Tooth-striped, Kelling, Norfolk.

Many-plumed Moth (Alucita hexadactyla), Holt, Norfolk.

Sallow Button (Acleris hastiana), Holt, Norfolk. This variable micro, could be the first record for TG03, which my garden falls under. I have come to this edgy conclusion from the Norfolk Moths website’s records. I will hopefully find out soon.

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Kelling Cleaver Update – 24-30/03/14

Only one proper visit this week, due to work becoming more and more hectic. The long wait for more migrants continues to go on, as that frustrating gap between the first singing Chiffchaff and the the first Hirundines splays itself out into the last days of March.

A drake Tufted Duck (NFY) was on the dyke to the west of the Little Eye footpath, on the 25th. This could have easily been the underlined, block capital highlight of the week, had – on the 28th – David and myself not been lucky enough to finally catch up with the single Snow Bunting (NFY) that has been flashing up on the pager here and there. Frustrating as it was, having to twitch a Snow Bunting on your own patch, since the devastation left by the tidal surge, Snow Buntings have been almost none existent. As far as I know, none of the locals have noted them this year and if they will return in their numbers next winter, will remain unknown until then.

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Snow Bunting, Salthouse, taken by John Furse.

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Kelling Cleaver Update – 17-23/03/14

This weeks patch birding won’t rewrite the history books, but for the hours we put in over the weekend, we did at least get some humble results and a small nugget of patch gold.

As I only managed to get out over the weekend, I was eager to get in to the field on the 22nd. Nothing much had changed on the Cleaver, except the fresh arrival of more Wheatears. A single was on the Little Eye, with a further 7 birds south of Gramborough and another single just east of Weybourne. These could have easily been the days highlight, had we not picked out Fulmar and Goldeneye moving west; both patch year ticks.

The 23rd was an after work session and it was pretty bleak too, until David and I had an Avocet fly into the Water Meadow, alarming. With this, a female type Goosander lifted from somewhere on the pool and circled high before flying south. This bird represents my first record for the Cleaver and is, in terms of year listing in the area, a very good bird, indeed.

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Moths At Work 17-23/03/14

The moths at work are increasing in numbers and diversity this week, and the past seven days has seen me notch up several new species. Here are a few highlights from this week.

Clouded Drab

Clouded Drab – Kelling

Common Quaker

Common Quaker – Kelling

Shoulder Stripe

Shoulder Stripe – Kelling

Pine Beauty

Pine Beauty – Kelling

Oak Beauty – Kelling

Twin-spot Quaker (2)

Twin-spot Quaker – Kelling

March Moth

March Moth – Kelling

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Moths At Work – Latest

No, it’s not moths going about doing a bit of artexting, or the likes; it’s actually moths at work, my work. It’s one of the great things about working up on the Norfolk coast, wildlife is part of your 9-5, or 7-3, 0r 2-10. Well, you get the picture.

Now the year is progressing, many more species are out on the wing and the toilet blocks and other lit areas are starting to attract more and more insects, including plenty of moths. As I am leaning myself into the subject more heavily this year and hopefully on the verge of getting myself a trap, my working day suddenly has a new dimension. Moths.

Several species are found daily at the moment, with the most common being Yellow Horned and Double-striped Pug.

Yellow Horned - Kelling

Yellow Horned – Kelling

Other species the past couple of weeks have included Common & Beautiful Plume, Hebrew Character, Pale Brindled Beauty, Oak Beauty, Engrailed, Dotted Border, Early Grey and Hebrew Character.

Early Grey - Kelling

Early Grey – Kelling

Dotted Border – Kelling

Plumes aside, most of the micros are pretty challenging, even at this time of year when species on the wing are restricted to low numbers. The latest two have been Diurnea Fagella and an Agonopterix sp, possible subpropinquella.

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Kelling Cleaver Update 10-16/03/14

Work and a bit of a virus meant I didn’t get into the field till the 13th, but it would prove to be the start of a solid 3 days on the patch.

The 13th was mild and clear and even though the immediate coast was cloaked with fog by the early afternoon, slightly in-land was very pleasant. Muckleburgh Hill was holding at least 3 singing Chiffchaff (patch year tick) and not long after the first bird was heard, a patch first flew in from over the roads and directly into the tree in front of me; Great spotted Woodpecker, result. As far as I know and from Moss Taylor’s reports from the area, they do not breed, so any sighting here is noteworthy. Things improved still once I positioned myself on top of Muckleburgh, as 3 Red Kite could be seen following Cromer Ridge and drifting away in-land.

Mild conditions and clear skies persisted into the 14th and straight after work, Leila and myself had a bite to eat at Muckleburgh’s summit and scanned for more raptors. A male Sparrowhawk was the first to appear, a well overdue year tick for the Cleaver and smart views to boot. Six Buzzard moved west, loosely associating and finally an immature Peregrine (patch year tick) came in off the heath and panicked the Wood Pigeon flock on the camp.

Down at Salthouse, John Furse had found a Wheatear (patch year tick) and the bird stayed long enough to allow some decent views.

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Wheatear, Salthouse, taken by John Furse, 14/03/14.

The winds on the 15th switched to a west/north-west direction and picked up a few mph. It was much milder and any plans to wait for passerines moving on the hill were ruined by this. Instead, I decided to bunker down by the beach and keep an eye on the sea for an hour. This was in my favour, as small numbers of many species were moving. Brent Geese, Gannet, Eider, Scoter, Dunlin and Grey Plover were all noted, but the main highlight was when a stunning 1st-winter Iceland Gull loafed into view from the east. A county, patch and self find tick all rolled into one. Magic. I watched the bird for about 10 minutes, trying to get a call out to the services so the lads at Cley had a chance, but signal was so poor it was impossible. I whacked out some horrendous video with my phone, but it was good enough should anyone question the sighting and I rushed up the bank to call it out. Amazingly, Ian Eggelton and Nigel Rogers were stood on the other side having a chat. I quickly informed them and Nigel managed a few decent record shots before the bird was out of view.

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1st-winter Iceland Gull, Kelling Hard, taken by Nigel Rogers.

The sea hadn’t spat out it’s last patch year tick for me there though, an adult Kittiwake and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser ended the morning.

Some car trouble saw us at Salthouse a little longer than we had planned, but a Snipe was seen and that long over due bird brought the Cleaver up to a ton for the year, so far.

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Northern Lights On The Cleaver – 27/02/14

Glancing through my Twitter feed on the evening of the 27th, one post had me leaping out the chair and scrambling for the door. NORTHERN LIGHTS SHOWING OFF NORFOLK!!! After the disappointment of the last ‘alert’, we got our gear together and headed for Weybourne. On first arrival, we could make out a faint green glow, changing shape high over the turbines. A 30 second exposure allowed us to pick up these faint colours.

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It really is very difficult to make out the colours on the monitor, but you may just be able to make out the low band of green, with a red glow above.

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